Sierra Nevada Brewing Company

The Friday Mash (James Dean Edition)

Sixty-one years ago today, James Dean was killed in a traffic crash in California. He was 24 years old. Dean became the first actor to earn posthumous Academy Award nominations for Best Actor, for playing Cal Trask in East of Eden and Jett Rink in Giant.

And now…The Mash!

We begin in Denver, where Brent Doeden aka “Captain Earthman” suffers from inoperable brain cancer. Doeden, who’s been vending beer at Colorado Rockies baseball games since the franchise’s inception, is a cult figure at Coors Field.

Wil Fulton of Thrillist.com makes the case for why flip cup is a better drinking game than beer pong. One advantage: it’s easier to cheat, which—like in Monopoly—is an integral part of the game.

The Michelada is one of Mexico’s popular new drinks. It consists of beer, lime juice, spices, sauces, and other ingredients in a salt-lined glass. It has some similarity to a margarita.

To combat “flagship fatigue”, Sierra Nevada Brewing Company will release three new ales next year: Sidecar Orange Pale Ale, Tropical Torpedo, and Golden IPA.

Los Angeles has light rail transportation, and you can spend a day pub-crawling along the Red Line, which runs from Union Station to North Hollywood.

Candidates aren’t the only ones running negative ads this fall. Miller Lite responded to a Bud Light spot with this slogan: “Bud Light says raise one to right now so why not raise the right one?”

Finally, ultra-runner Karl Meltzer set a new record for running the length of the 2,190-mile Appalachian Trail: 44.9 days, 22 hours 38 minutes. His routine on the AT included ending the day with a couple of brews. Meltzer celebrated the end of his trek with a pepperoni pizza and—you guessed it—a beer.

Wet Hop Beer Year-Round?

Last fall, one of the local breweries released a fresh-hop ale. I had several growlers, and pronounced it the best beer the brewery has made in its ten-year history. Now I learned that fresh-hop ale might become available year-round.

Ken Grossman, the founder of Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, has dealt directly with hops farmers in Washington State. One of the farmers also grows mint, and he built a device that extracts oil from the mint leaves. Grossman asked the farmer whether that device works for hops oil as will. It does.

Grossman asked the farmer friend to build him a similar device, and now he has a supply of fresh hops oil. That’s the good news.

The better news is Sierra Nevada has made a new beer, Hop Hunter IPA, with the fresh hops oil. Aaron Goldfarb of Esquire magazine, who got to review the beer, gave it a rave review: “Like most wet hop beers, Hop Hunter is extraordinarily floral and aromatic, like sticking your nose into a freshly-picked plant or flower bouquet. It’s not really bitter-tasting either, certainly not as bitter as your typical IPAs.”

Hop Hunter will be released on February 1. Mark your calendar.

Beer…By the Numbers

  • Years since Westvleteren’s Sint Sixtus abbey started brewing beer: 136.
  • Number of monks currently at the abbey: 21.
  • Tickets distributed for this year’s Vermont Brewers Festival: 8,400 (total for three sessions).
  • The time it took for those tickets to sell out: 11 minutes.
  • Number of breweries in Portland, Oregon: 53.
  • Cities in the world with more breweries than Portland: 0.
  • Annual economic impact of Vermont’s craft brewing industry: $196 million.
  • Vermont’s national rank in craft brewing’s per-capita economic impact: 3rd (behind Oregon and Colorado).
  • Off-premise retail chain sales of shandies in 2013: $67 million.
  • Increase over the year before: 227 percent.
  • Summer Shandy’s share of Leinenkugel’s total sales: 50 percent.
  • Stops on the Sierra Nevada’s “Beer Camp Across America” festival circuit: 7.
  • Cost of a general-admission ticket to Beer Camp Across America: $65.
  • Beers poured at this year’s Burning Can canned-beer fest in Colorado: more than 150.
  • “Can-centric” breweries taking part in the festival: 55.
  • The Ultimate Beer Festival?

    Sierra Nevada Brewing Company is taking its Beer Camp on the road this summer. Called “Beer Camp Across America,” it will be a series of festivals to be held in seven cities, starting in Sierra Nevada’s hometown of Chico, California, and winding up at the brewery’s new plant in North Carolina. Sierra Nevada has invited every craft brewery in the country to pour at these events. It has also joined forces with other craft brewers to create a 12-pack of collaborative beers. These, too, will be available at the festivals.

    Proceeds from Beer Camp Across America will go to the California Craft Brewers Association.

    Top Craft Breweries of 2013

    The Brewers Association has released its annual list of the top 50 craft breweries. Boston Beer Company once again holds down the top spot, followed by Sierra Nevada Brewing Company and New Belgium Brewing Company.

    Newcomers to the top ten include Duvel/Moortgat USA, the Belgian company that acquired Boulevard Brewing Company; and Brooklyn Brewing Company. They replace F.X. Matt Brewing Company and Harpoon Brewery, which rank 11th and 12th on the list.

    The Friday Mash (Happy New Year! Edition)

    It’s been a horrible winter in much of the country, but take heart: today is the first full day of spring. Today is also the first day of the astrological year, being the first full day under the sign of Aries. So break out the noisemakers and funny hats, and order yourself a beer.

    And now….The Mash!

    We begin in Bend, Oregon, which has 80,000 residents and 11 breweries. The breweries issue visitors a “passport” that they can get stamped as they sample their way through town.

    Esquire Network’s Brew Dogs are trying to brew the world’s most caloric beer: an imperial stout made with maple syrup and bacon, served with a scoop of beer ice cream and a sliver of bacon. It weighs in at over 525 calories.

    According to Outdoor Life magazine, empty glass beer bottles may help you survive in the wilderness. You can make sharp tools out of them, and even use them to start fires.

    The Session #86, moderated by “Beer Hobo” Heather Vandenengel, will focus on beer journalism. She invites you to discuss the role of beer writers and talk about your favorites.

    In Boise, fans filed suit against the city’s minor-league hockey team after seeing a YouTube video showing that a $7 large beer contained the same amount of beer as a $4 “small” beer.

    The environment is a high priority at Sierra Nevada Brewing Company’s new North Carolina plant, whose interior decor will reflect the natural beauty of its surroundings.

    Finally, conservative commentator Phyllis Schlafly has asked federal trademark regulators to deny Schlafly beer a trademark because she doesn’t want her family associated with beer. Her nephew Tom’s Saint Louis Brewery has brewed Schlafly beer since 1989.

    The Friday Mash (NASCAR Edition)

    Sixty-six years ago today, the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing was formed in Daytona Beach, Florida. Today, NASCAR is second only to the National Football League in television ratings and has more Fortune 500 corporate sponsors than any other sport.

    And now….The Mash!

    We begin in western North Carolina, where the new Sierra Nevada brewery has started brewing IPA. It will start shipping to distributors this spring, and open to the public in August.

    It looks like a stout, but Morning Beer by a Sacramento roaster is actually a nitrogenated coffee. It’s alcohol-free, so you can enjoy it on your way to work.

    Think you’re the ultimate beer geek? If so, send a video to the Firestone Walker Brewing Company. The lucky winner will get four VIP tickets to the sold-out Invitational Beer Festival.

    The All-American Food Truck & Craft Beer Rally took place in Huntsville, Alabama, on Wednesday. Food trucks are showing up at more and more festivals on our calendar.

    Your purchase of Flying Dog Ales’ Pearl Necklace Oyster Stout helps fund the brewery’s effort to plant oysters in Chesapeake Bay. Flying Dog expects to plant two million this year.

    It’s almost Mardi Gras season in New Orleans. If you’re going, local writer Nora McGunnigle tells where you can find good beer in the Crescent City.

    Finally, we recently told you about beer concentrate. Now the folks at Gizmodo.com have tried it straight, and say it “bombards your taste buds with a rotting symphony of flavors not meant for consumption.”

    Ken Grossman: Tips From the Top

    Ken Grossman, the founder of Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, is out with a new book titled Beyond the Pale. It goes without saying that he’s been successful–can you believe Sierra Nevada turns 33 years old this fall?–and that he’s being sought out for his advice to entrepreneurs. In a recent interview with Dan Schawbel of Forbes magazine, Grossman offered these three tips:

    1. Gut check the path you’re paving. I encountered some huge hurdles when first building the brewery, and the outcome may have been different if my passion for beer wasn’t resolute.

    2. To piggyback number one, always carry around a big helping of optimism. Challenges will be that much more bearable.

    3. Be mindful of those helping you succeed, and let them know you value them—often. It’s hard to give up some of the steering of the ship as a driven entrepreneur, but we don’t last 33 years as a brewery—with no end in sight—without our loyal employees.

    The Friday Mash (Mt. Pinatubo Edition)

    Twenty-two years ago today, Mount Pinatubo experienced the first of a series of eruptions. Those eruptions expelled so much particulate matter that temperatures fell by nearly 1 degree Fahrenheit world-wide, reducing the demand for beer.

    And now….The Mash!

    We begin in Spain, where a beer commercial has locals up in arms for an unusual reason: the actors committed the culinary offense of adding onions to paella.

    Will the summer of 2013 be the summer of shandy? The beer and lemonade mix, first created for German bicyclists in 1922, has gained a following in North America.

    First, Buffalo Wild Wings, now World of Beer. The fast-growing chain of beer bars is brewing its own-label beer. It’s a Belgian ale called C’est La Vie!

    Jay Brooks posted an unusual infographic about the brewing process in his Brookston Beer Bulletin. It cites the various names given to beer in the process from grain to glass.

    Now that craft brewers have revived oyster stout, what’s the next step? Lobster beer, of course. Redhook Brewing Company’s Black Lobstah Lager is made with New Hampshire lobsters.

    Blair Robertson of the Sacramento Bee reports on his road trip to Chico, where he toured Sierra Nevada’s brewery and got to talk beer with famed brewmaster Steve Dresler.

    Finally, former Philip Morris CEO Bill Howell passed away at the age of 85. Howell was the man who convinced millions of American men to drink a new beer called Miller Lite.

    The Top 50 Breweries

    This week the Brewers Association released the list of America’s 50 largest craft breweries. Heading the list is the Boston Beer Company, followed by the Sierra Nevada Brewing Company; the New Belgium Brewing Company; The Gambrinus Company (best known for Shiner, but also brews BridgePort and Trumer); and Deschutes Brewery.

    The BA points out that of the top 50 overall brewing companies, 39 are small and independent operations. It also notes that craft beer’s market share is over six percent, and that both volume and dollar sales are at an all-time high.

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